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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Soil, Water & Air Resources Research » Research » Research Project #443530

Research Project: Water and Light Use Efficiency of Native Grasses in a Silvopasture System

Location: Soil, Water & Air Resources Research

Project Number: 5030-11610-005-001-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jan 23, 2023
End Date: Jan 22, 2025

Evaluate the effectiveness of the microclimate modified by a tree canopy on native grass production efficiency in a silvopasture system.

The project involves comparison of the water and light use efficiency of native grass forages grown under the shade of widely-spaced trees (silvopasture) verses those grown in a conventional pasture in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The research approach utilizes Bowen ratio energy balance (BREB) methods and biophysical sensors within the silvopasture and open pasture to quantify differences in evapotranspiration and microclimate between the two populations, native grasses grown beneath rows of five tree species and in the open. Forage height, biomass, and leaf area index will be measured before each grazing event. Forage produced and cumulative water use from the onset of growth or since the last grazing event will be used to calculate water use efficiency.